ATP: Rafael Nadal routed in Rome, uncertain for French Open

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Seventh-seeded Hubert Hurkacz breezed to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia on Saturday in Rome.

Hurkacz saved five break points during the opening game and all seven he faced in the 93-minute match. The 27-year-old Poland native finished with nine aces to upend the 22-time Grand Slam champion and 10-time winner in Rome.

“I’m definitely really proud of myself,” Hurkacz said. “Playing Rafa is something special. It’s just different, especially being on clay, the surface that he has just dominated over the past 20 years. No one will ever have a record like him on this surface.

“He’s just bigger than the sport at the end of the day. So many people follow him and he inspired so many guys, so I’m just really happy to have had that experience today.”

Hurkacz, who had a first-round bye, advanced to the third round to face Tomas Martin Etcheverry. The 25th-seeded Argentine posted a 6-3, 7-5 win over Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil.

Nadal, who turns 38 next month, has struggled to regain his form after being plagued by a hip injury. In what is expected to be his final ATP Tour season, the Spaniard undoubtedly wanted a good showing in Rome leading to the French Open, which he has won a record 14 times.

Nadal admitted he has two options in regard to the French Open, which begins May 26.

“One is to say, ‘OK, I am not ready, I am not playing enough well,'” Nadal said. “Another is (to) accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks.

“The decision, as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today. But if I have to say what’s my feeling and if my mind is closer one way or the other way, I’m going to say be in Roland Garros and try my best. Physically I have some issues, but not probably yet enough to say not playing in the most important event of my tennis career.”

Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, the second seed and defending champion, was challenged by Great Britain’s Jack Draper but pulled out a 7-5, 6-4 win. Medvedev converted on five of nine break point opportunities, while Draper could only take advantage of three chances in 10.

Other seeded winners on Saturday included No. 14 Tommy Paul and No. 21 Nicolas Jarry of Chile. Paul posted a 6-4, 6-2 win over Aslan Karatsev of Russia, while Jarry saved seven set points in the second set to record a 6-2, 7-6 (6) victory over Matteo Arnaldi of Italy.

Also on Saturday, Serbian qualifier Hamad Medjedovic notched a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win over 30th-seeded Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain. Unseeded Dominik Koepfer of Germany knocked out 22nd-seeded Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-2.

–Field Level Media

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